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Posted Dec 09 2009 12:00am

A person who has not been on call 24 hours around the clock day and night for more than 5 years can not understand what a luxury it feels to have one week of undisturbed sleep at night. That is what I experience now when we are two general surgeons sharing the enormous workload at the hospital.

The surgeon in Dembi Dollo has left since two months so we are seeing many surgical referrals from that area as we used to have before. Even from Nekamte and Metu where there are large regional  so-called “referral” hospital we have patients referred. This week on patient from each capital was operated for prostatic hyperplasia.

Today three happy patients were going home after surgery.

This young lady after mastectomy (having her breast removed)



How is it possible for a young 20 year old woman to smile the day after you have had one breast removed?

One thing is that the breast is not considered important except for breastfeeding a baby – not as in the hyper sexualized western world where it would have been a major catastrophe needing acute psychiatric support and several months of crisis therapy.

Another thing is our patients’ stoic acceptance of reality which never stops to make impression on me.

The sad thing in this case is that she had a minor infection which was treated with some powerful “traditional medicine” that caused the major part of the breast to go into necrosis (tissue death).

This lady is happy because she got her first live baby by cesarean at her 7’th pregnancy. All other ended with abortions or stillbirth.




This gentleman arrived in the middle of the night at 02 am with acute bowel obstruction (sigmoid volvolus). Fortunately we were able to deflate and decompress the large bowel with a large bore rectal tube. That resolved the emergency……..





VIDEO ← click for video


…….and after some days of bowel rest …….



…….the surgery - a sigmoid resection with end-to end anastomosis – is much easier to perform technically.








On his way home with the hat on.



Why did he keep that hat on his head during all the time in the hospital? To hide a large lipoma (a benign mass – a “fat tumor”) on the head.




When he has recovered and saved some more money he will return for removal of that totally benign mass on the head. It will be done as day surgery in local anesthesia at a cost of 300 birr (15 Euro)  - if he can raise that amount.



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